Will Ascot Be Affected by Aircraft Noise When Brisbane Airport’s New Runway Opens in 2020?

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Once Brisbane airport’s new runway is operational in 2020, some residents may be wondering what effect, if any, this would have on property prices in Ascot, currently the fourth most expensive suburb in Brisbane and one of the suburbs in some of the flight paths.

Based on Brisbane’s new runway flight path tool, Ascot does not directly fall under a flight path. However, it should be noted that since flight paths do not precisely follow a single line and can be more accurately called flight path ‘swathes,’ the flight path can vary up to several kilometres. So it is highly possible that aircraft will fly over the suburb.

Flight paths when the new runway starts operating. Photo credit: flightpathtool.bne.com.au

Through the flight path tool, users can also get an overview of the noise level that the suburb will experience. The following is a comparison of the noise level with the existing runway versus noise level when the new runway is in use, with the green pin placed on Ascot.


 
 


Existing Runway Noise

Noise level with the existing runway (Credit: flightpathtool.bne.com.au)

New Runway Noise

Noise level with new runway (Credit: flightpathtool.bne.com.au)

The flight path tool indicates that aircraft flying near Ascot are likely to be at an altitude where the aircraft noise level will be less than 70 decibels. According to Australian standards, a noise level of 70 decibels is likely to interfere with people speaking indoors (with the windows open). 

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Since Ascot is only a few kilometres from an arrival flight path, it will experience noise from 36 average flights and a maximum of 74 flights.


Average and maximum flights near Ascot (Credit: flightpathtool.bne.com.au)

Will it affect real estate prices?

As Ascot has been a relatively quiet suburb, it is logical to wonder if the added noise from aircraft would negatively affect real estate in the area.

A study commissioned by Brisbane Airport Corporation and conducted by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) explored the impact of aircraft noise on Brisbane residential properties.

Analysing 25 years of data, the QUT research highlighted that: “housing and units in Brisbane located under designated flight paths have their value and price determined by a range of factors and these factors are not detrimentally impacted by aircraft noise.”

“The location of a property under a flight path will have minimal if any impact on the price, saleability, investment performance and capital growth of that property,” the study concluded.

Will residents be disadvantaged?

The impending noise associated with the new runway does not sit well with many concerned residents.

Steve Woolcock, ex RAAF and Retired Captain of domestic and overseas airlines, believes that Brisbane residents have been given a bad deal in the way that this runway is placed.

“I have been an airline pilot here in Australia and overseas for most of my life and I understand the effects of aircraft noise and the arbitrary decisions made by airport authorities that affect both passengers and residents,” Mr Woolcock said.

“Rest assured, these decisions are made almost solely in the airport’s interests – moving passengers in and out of the airport,” he said.

Mr Woolcock noted that the new runway is displaced quite a distance north compared to the present runway.

However, Mr Woolcock said that “regardless of the displacement northwards, any aircraft taking off will reach residential areas sooner than on the old runway – 5.5 km compared to 7 km, therefore more noise for any given aircraft.”

In examining the QUT research, Mr Woolcock stressed that the case of Brisbane Airport’s new runway is nothing like that of other major airports in Australia where the airports were built first before residents moved nearby.

“This extension has been built with full knowledge that the established residents will be disadvantaged,” he said.

With the added noise overhead, Mr Woolcock refutes the statement that there will be no impact on property prices or saleability.

Mr Woolcock added: “How will people like eating in a restaurant or restaurant courtyard, with 70-decibel noise overflying them? How long will “good schools” remain good schools with that noise overhead?” 

“Ascot has no better transport than other suburbs around Brisbane and worse than some. The “assurances” are nothing but words.”

“If I use Murarrie as an example… the aircraft fly over there at low levels and are noisy – very noisy.  Murarrie has developed from a leather tanning area to a residential area with nice houses. The house prices are held lower there than otherwise would be the case if aircraft did not fly overhead. Those big, nice houses would sell for much more if not in line with the present runway.”

He also noted that while 70-decibel noise level is being used as reading used to represent the impact of aircraft noise, a drone planned for deliveries has failed in its noise test in Canberra ACT. 

“The drone’s noise level was recorded at 69 decibels and the noise limits enforced over Canberra’s residential areas are a low 45 decibels,” he said.

Mr Woolcock also said that every aspect of the airport expansion should have already been considered as this is being foisted upon existing residents. He reiterated that extended flight paths are of little concern to residents and that their concern is how aircraft noise will affect them regardless of flight paths. 

The retired caption said that if the airport authorities were offering correct information and were transparent they would:

  1. State that the South Western sector would only be used for departures and arrivals in unusual circumstances
  2. The south western sector would have “noise abatement procedures” implemented (which means a rapid climb for aircraft taking off so that they would be higher sooner over residential areas)
  3. Only smaller, turbo prop aircraft will depart from RW 19R unless unusual circumstances exist. 
  4. All landing should be limited to smaller turbo prop aircraft on 01L, and,
  5. MOST IMPORTANTLY all takeoffs on RW 19R will start from the beginning of the runway, ie, no intersection departures as intersection departures will bring aircraft closer and lower over residential areas.

“It is too late for major changes but at the very least the airport authorities ought to minimise the adverse effects to residents otherwise they might find residents pushing for a curfew as are placed on other airports,” Mr Woolcock said.

Reporting Noise Issues

Meanwhile, the Australian aviation industry assured they will help identify issues of concern and possible opportunities for improvements through Noise Complaints and Information Service (NCIS).

The service will be managed by Airservices Australia, who will be responsible for Australia’s airspace management, flight paths, providing noise information and managing complaints.

For any questions or concerns about current aircraft activity, lodge a complaint or make an enquiry: